Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On the Road: Musc Nomade

Isabelle Doyen’s Musc Nomade, the fourth fragrance in the Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes collection, states the case for exceptionalism in the oft-maligned “white musk” category. It is at once soothing and clean, rich and surprisingly deep. By no means is it a difficult or furrily animalic scent, but if there is merit in subtlety this is it.

Musc Nomade is all about Muscone, ambrette absolute, rose absolute, angelica root and - an elegant Middle Eastern touch - oud wood. It’s as if Doyen took many of the same materials which Polge and Sheldrake used to craft Chanel No 18 and did something warmer, more lactonic, more casual and a tad less elegant. The rose and ambrette seed lend a sweet fruitiness where even the best of the rest (those white musks) simply give a fresh laundry smell. In fact, the genius of Musc Nomade is that, my nose at least, it comes off smelling partly of really high-quality ambergris and at a fraction of the price.

I first wore this from a sample in the mid-July heat. Its relatively light touch made it elusive to my nose in ninety degrees, but a friend commented that every so often a beautiful smell would fill the air in my vicinity. As much as I’d like to affect the odor of sanctity, I’d wager that what he was smelling was the blending of the ambrette and the rose. In the lower temperatures of late October and early November, my nose settles on the Muscone, the ambrette and the woody facets. Infinitely adaptable, I’d call this one a winner.


Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

It's lovely, isn't it? I've been on the edge of buying it since it came out, but I need to renew my MKK too... What's a girl to do? They're different enough for a musk lover to get both, though. I didn't get as much rose as you did, and there was something very faintly dirty-salty in the drydown, could be the oudh. I find the whole series subtle and introspective in its sensuousness.

November 5, 2008 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

D., The rose doesn't scream its presence, it forms an entirely new scent contour with the ambrette, angelica and white musks. Subtle and introspective indeed ... as if Doyen were striving to create a stark contrast with Lutens.

November 5, 2008 at 2:52 PM  

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